The one and three month temperature and precipitation projections for weather in central Ohio call for increased chances of above average temperatures and near normal precipitation. This is favorable for maturation of vegetables planted to take advantage of the fall growing season. The fall vegetable timeline indicates that right now is a good time to plant another round of multiple vegetables including cucumbers, zucchini, green beans, peas and potatoes. Keep in mind when planting potatoes, the flowering occurs before formation of the potatoes under the ground. This means that if the weather turns colder at night and the producer wishes to prevent frost damage to the leaves, a row cover can be applied without worry about inhibiting pollinators.
I gave an update on the ENSO/El Nino phenomenon last month in Growing Franklin. An update was posted on NOAA/NWS recently that has upgraded the chances for fall to 65% and for winter to 70%. El Nino winters in central Ohio have an increased chance of warmer weather. This is important for planning for over wintered vegetables under season extension as well as timing of cover crop plantings.
There are three classes upcoming on the west, south and east sides of Columbus that address winter cover crop selection and season extension:
- Winter Cover Crops at Bexley Community Garden North – Tuesday August 21st
- Season Extension using Low Tunnels at The Reeb Center – Monday August 27th
- Winter Cover Crops and Season Extension in the Community Garden at Wallace Community Garden – Tuesday September 11th
Season Extension methods can be used in summer as well as to protect plantings from cold in cooler months. CLICK HERE for a link to Using Shade Fabric for Summer Season Extension of Cold Weather Crops.
Multiple problems have been reported by central Ohio growers regarding cucurbit family crops, specifically summer squash and cucumbers. Powdery mildew has become widespread in the area recently, showing up as white patches on the cucurbit leaves.
These patches can eventually cover the entire leaf surface. They are not generally fatal to the plant, but can kill the leaves, weaken the plant, and decrease plant productivity.
Another problem noted in cucurbits is squash bug nymphs are hatching from egg clusters laid recently and are approaching infestation levels on many plantings.
Do not let large numbers of squash bugs reach infestation levels trying to ripen a last, small amount of cucumbers or zucchini. Eliminating the infested plantings, not composting, can remove large amounts of squash bugs now to decrease the burden faced by fall planted cucurbits. Take care to factor in impacts to pollinators if pesticides are being considered for control.